Specializing in the latest non-surgical treatments

Embarassed by Rosacea?

Everyone blushes from time to time or has to deal with transient facial redness.

However, when the red facial discoloration is chronic it can lead to feelings of discomfort, embarrassment, as well as frustration when attempts to mask it are unsuccessful.

Rosacea is a condition that is manifested by red, ruddy, rosy facial skin commonly found on the cheeks, nose and chin. The appearance of acne, pimples, pustules and red bumps are also very common, but do not respond to the typical acne medications, which in fact may be too harsh for the skin and often worsen the problem. The symptoms may exacerbate with alcohol intake, sun exposure, stress, spicy foods, and exercise.

Rosacea can affect all ethnic groups. However, it is more common in those with fair complexions, and light hair and eyes, such as those of Irish or English ancestry. The onset is typically between the ages of thirty to fifty. The cause of rosacea is unknown and seems to be genetic. Even though there is no cure, the symptoms can be controlled. Fortunately, many treatments have become available recently and many are likely to follow. Research has proven that controlling the symptoms helps to prevent rosacea from getting worse.

I recommend discussing the following treatments with your dermatologist or primary physician. More than one treatment may be necessary to control the symptoms. For example, several laser treatments in conjunction with the daily use of a topical prescription lotion may be beneficial.


The following steps are some of the available treatment modalities:

Tetracycline oral antibiotic has been used for many years as a treatment because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It is not prescribed as frequently today due to the effectiveness of new topical treatments.

Metrogel, Metrolotion or Metrocream are three different formulations of a topical antibiotic to treat papules and pustules. This treatment is also beneficial for reducing redness due to the anti-inflammatory effect. This prescription is typically applied two times per day. It is available by prescription only and proper use should be discussed with your doctor.

Finacea is one of the latest topical treatments for mild to moderate rosacea. Finacea is a topical treatment consisting of 15% azelaic acid and available by prescription only. It is applied two times per day. This is a good choice because in addition to controlling the symptoms it may improve the overall appearance of the skin making it appear smoother and more refined. Azelaic acid is also beneficial for acne vulgaris.


Lasers are a safe and effective treatment for reducing the redness or rosacea. KTP and pulsed dye lasers are among available lasers commonly used. These color specific laser target hemoglobin, which heats up the blood vessels causing coagulation. More than one treatment, usually three to six, is generally necessary. Occasional touch ups are also recommended. As previously mentioned there is no cure, but lasers are a safe and viable option for controlling the symptoms. Contact a medical office for this procedure.

Intensive pulsed light (IPL) is not a laser, but a light treatment that is effective for brown spots, as well as superficial spider veins and rosacea. Seek a medical office for this procedure.

Daily sun protection is not a treatment, but I consider it just as important as any intervention. First of all, too much sun exposure can lead to exacerbation of symptoms. Secondly, the skin is more vulnerable and sensitive so protecting the skins integrity is necessary. (See below).

Be aware of triggers that exacerbate the symptoms such as too much sun exposure, high temperatures, spicy foods, alcohol (especially red wine), hot drinks, stress and exercise. It is helpful to exercise in small increments, such as fifteen minutes at a time or take walks.



Basic skin care:

Seek gentle cleansers for sensitive skin such as Cetaphil, liquid glycerin cleanser, Clinique Liquid Cleanser, or Rosinil, which is a sulfur cleanser especially for rosacea. Avoid the use of hot water and deodorant soaps on the affected area.

Sun protection is imperative especially since sun exposure and hot climates can worsen symptoms. Apply a daily sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are physical blocks. SkinCeuticals Daily Defense www.skinceuticals.com, Obagi Healthy skin care www.obagi.com, Total block www.totalblock.com or blue Lizard www.coolibar.com are some recommendations. See my article on Safe Sun.

Moisturizers should not contain fragrance, alcohol or witch hazel. Look for lotions for sensitive skin. Almay, Aveeno, and Aveda are some brands to consider. There are many sunscreens that contain a moisturizer such as SkinCeuticals Daily Defense, mentioned above.

Foundation to mask or soften the symptoms may seem futile at times. With the proper products, technique and color you can achieve a natural look. After application of a sunscreen/moisturizer your skin is ready for a foundation. Seek make-up that matches your natural skin tone that is not affected by the rosacea. Also purchase a concealer with a yellow tone to mask the redness. Apply the concealer first to the reddened areas and then the foundation to blend. For smooth application apply with your fingers by patting the foundation on the skin or use a make-up sponge. Physicians Formula makes a good yellow concealer, as do many cosmetic lines. Foundations with minerals have become very popular due to the natural luminous look they give the skin as well as the extra sun protection.

Some brands include:





For support and information the following web sites may be helpful:










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Deborah is a registered nurse with over 17 years of experience helping thousands of women and men look years younger through the use of non-surgical skin treatments including Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, Restylane, Perlane, Radiesse, and Fraxel laser. Deborah is well known in Walnut Creek and the San Francisco Bay Area both as an expert practitioner of her profession and as a teacher and guest speaker for various women's organizations.
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